Mountain Ridge graduate Leuma Pua'auli commits to Division I Bryant

Apr. 3—SMITHFIELD, R.I. — After a historic senior season at Mountain Ridge and a stop at Lawrenceville Prep, Leuma Pua'auli committed to Division I Bryant University.

The former Miner announced his commitment in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on March 22.

Pua'auli graduated from Mountain Ridge in 2023 and played last season at Lawrenceville Prep in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

At Lawrenceville, he was named the Mercer County 12th Man Touchdown Club's offensive back of the week in Week 9.

Against Hotchkiss School, Pua'auli threw for 236 yards and one touchdown, rushed for 43 yards and two scores and caught a 76-yard touchdown pass in the Big Red's 33-14 victory.

Pua'auli teamed up with Fort Hill graduate and Penn commit Tavin Willis at Lawrenceville.

Pua'auli's senior season at Mountain Ridge was nothing shy of historic.

He became the first quarterback in MPSSAA history to throw for at least 25 touchdowns and rush for at least 20 in the same season.

Pua'auli was the sixth quarterback in any class to combine for over 50 touchdowns.

"His senior season, you're looking at the what I consider the best quarterback in the state of Maryland," former Mountain Ridge head coach Ryan Patterson said. "He was duel threat for us, brings a tremendous amount of athleticism and just a real commitment to the weight room. If you see Uma now, you'd never believe it's the same kid. "

He was the 2022 area Player of the Year, a second-team All-Area punter and honorable mention defensive back.

Patterson said Pua'auli also considered Division I Saint Francis and Division III Salisbury.

Pua'auli previously held an offer from Division I Southern Utah, but they needed a commitment by the end of 2023.

Pua'auli will play defensive back for Bryant.

As a senior, he recorded 17 tackles, broke up three passes and also recorded a sack, an interception and a forced fumble.

"Bryant plays multiple safeties on the field so there could be possible playing time for him this fall," Patterson said. "He met with the coaches and they had a young, energetic vibe he kinda fell in love with."

Pua'auli was the second of three straight Mountain Ridge quarterbacks who were either the area's Player of the Year or Offensive Player of the Year.

Bryce Snyder won Offensive Player of the Year in 2021 followed by Will Patterson in 2023, who shared the honor with Fort Hill's Jabril Daniels.

From 2021 to 2023, the Miners went 35-5 overall and reached three consecutive Class 1A championship games.

"It's been a great opportunity for us as coaches," Ryan Patterson said. "As talented as all three were, they're a little bit different so we got to tweak the playbook each year. We were blessed as a program to have three kids, all were phenomenal in the locker room.

Pua'auli will become the second member of his family to play Division I football.

His cousin Sefa, the 2019 Co-Area Player of the Year, just played his fourth season at Western Illinois University.

Sefa began his collegiate career at fullback, rushing 35 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman in 2020.

He switched to linebacker and has played 21 games over three seasons.

Leuma Pua'uali moves on to Bryant, based in Smithsfield, Rhode Island, which will join the Coastal Athletic Association this season.

The Bulldogs went 6-5 overall and 4-2 in the Big South Conference last fall.

Western Maryland is known for being overlooked in recruiting.

Despite being overlooked, Pua'auli bet on himself and was rewarded with the opportunity to play Division I football.

"It speaks to his confidence level," Ryan Patterson said. "He didn't get a whole lot of noise coming out of high school. We were a little confused with that. This area's under recruited, not just Ridge but Fort Hill and all the success they've had. We've turned out some kids that can play at the next level, sometimes just because our area being small school football, people overlook us."

Jordan Kendall is a Sports Writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Email him with scores and story suggestions at